Campus Equity Week Highlights Contingent Faculty Working Conditions

Get ready for Campus Equity Week! During this week, which occurs during the last week of October, groups plan local actions to draw attention to working conditions of faculty in contingent or adjunct positions. Such faculty, who constitute three fourths of the teaching faculty in US higher education, typically work without job security, for low wages, and without access to the professional working conditions that support student learning.

Campus Equity Week (known as Fair Employment Week in some states and in Canada) is supported by a large coalition of faculty activists and organizations of all sizes. Local actions can be of any size and shape; ranging from those conducted by a handful of people with a minimal budget to chapters with more significant resources. Some ideas include:

  • Video screening. Show a video about academic labor issues, serve food, and follow the showing with a discussion.

  • Lecture or panel discussion. Arrange for chapter leaders, campus leaders, or other expert speakers to talk to your members or other interested members of the university community on protecting academic freedom for contingent faculty, the participation of adjuncts in governance, organizing against contingency, or another topic of interest on your campus.

  • Legislative event. Go as a group to your state capitol to meet legislators, or invite them to visit campus. Give them information about the percentage of faculty on your campus who are contingent, or on key issues of concern.

  • Social event. Invite faculty members in contingent positions to a tea, happy hour, or whatever works for you. Give people a chance to meet colleagues.

  • Training or workshop. Be a resource and an advocate for faculty. Put together a workshop on rights and benefits available to part-time faculty, or whatever folks most need to know on your campus.

  • Recognition event. Bring members of the community together to recognize outstanding contingent teachers.

  • Table in the student center or other building. Hand out buttons or fliers and speak with students about the pressing issues on your campus.

  • Petition drives. Draft a simple petition on an issue affecting contingent faculty on your campus, collect signatures, and present it to the administration.

Campus Equity Week began in 2001 under the auspices of the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor to highlight the appalling working conditions of the majority of the faculty—who have adjunct or contingent status—and the impact of those conditions on the quality of education.

Campus Equity Week Resources

“Trends in the Academic Labor Force” chart

 Tenure and Teaching Intensive Appointments, a 2010 AAUP report updated in 2014

Graphic showing the Scary Stats on Contingency in Higher Ed

Posters to print out (size 11" x 17"): Version 1; Version 2

More Things to Check Out

Colorado AAUP conference Adjunct Coloring Book 

Colorado AAUP conference Adjunct Cookbook 

Mask 4 Campus Equity Week website: Resources and ideas for art-based CEW projects

AAUP chapters and conferences are welcome to request items such as AAUP buttons and stickers. And if you plan activities, please let us know! Write to Gwen Bradley at [email protected].

Publication Date: 
Tuesday, October 10, 2017